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DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – After covering much of the marathon distance, the finale came down to a pair of Charlie Appleby trainees, with Cross Counter outdueling Ispolini to take Saturday’s Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2) at Meydan Racecourse.
Breaking from post 9 under William Buick as the 3/2 favorite, Cross Counter was content to stalk just behind early leaders Red Galileo and Prince of Arran for much of the early going. Heading into the final turn, Red Galileo was under a full drive but soon began weakening while racing a path off of the rail. While Cross Counter went three-wide for the lead, an advancing Ispolini found a hole along the inside and shot through.
Hitting the top of the stretch, the Appleby trainees – both sporting their owner’s signature Godolphin blue silks – commenced a stretch duel that quickly separated them from their foes. Inside the final furlong, the bettors’ choice inched away along the outside to cross with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 3:19.00 for the 2-mile event over the firm turf course.
“The great thing about this horse is, I really do think he has the class for a mile and 1/2, but he stays 2 miles,” Buick said. “He’s still a young horse and plenty more fun to be had with him.”
Call The Wind had to race four-wide off of the far turn and, despite closing well in the stretch, was unable to make up enough ground to catch the top pair. Much farther back in fourth came Gold Mount, who overtook Marinaresco inside the final 1/16 of a mile. The race’s lone American-based runner Platinum Warrior was unable to unleash the full power of his closing kick after weaving through the back half of the field and settled for sixth over Sharpalo. Completing the order of finish came the weakened pacesetters Red Galileo and Prince of Arran.
A third Godolphin runner, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Team Talk, was eased in the final turn after dropping off steadily throughout it.
Cross Counter’s win was second straight following a triumph last November in Australia’s Lexus Melbourne Cup (G1), the world’s richest 2-mile turf event. The 4-year-old gelded son of Teofilo now carries a record of 9-6-2-0 with $4,180,496 earned for owner Godolphin.
“We felt that it would be nice for everybody to see a Melbourne Cup winner,” Appleby said. “To bring him up onto the world stage in Dubai has been a bit of a plan for a little while now, and I’m glad it’s been executed well.”
Cross Counter returned $5 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Ispolini brought back $4.20 to place and $2.40 to show, while Call The Wind paid $3.20 to show.
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